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'Head on a swivel' | Labor Day boating safety at Lake Tobesofkee

Before you get to the water, make sure you're eligible to drive a boat, wear a life jacket, and know the rules of the waterways.

MACON, Ga. — It's the first Monday in September, so it's Labor Day! 

When it comes to the folks in Central Georgia, many are celebrating their holiday on the water. But what safety measures can you take before heading out?

Lake Tobesofkee was one of the many central Georgia lakes filled with families and boats this Labor Day. Macon-Bibb County warning signs indicate how to be safe out on the water. 

Before you get to the water, here are some safety precautions to keep you safe and keep yourself afloat.

Erin McDade, a game warden for the Department of Natural Resources, gave us a rundown on what to check before sailing away. 

"Labor Day weekend, and any holiday weekend, it's a lot busier," McDade said. "You need to have your head on a swivel; make sure you're looking in every direction; it's a little different than the road since there's no lines."

McDade also stressed the importance of awareness and safety as a swimmer.

"Life jackets are very important," McDade said. "Make sure you don't have too many people on board; make sure that you have a sober operator that knows what they're doing. Be honest with yourself about your capabilities. If you are not a strong swimmer or a good swimmer, have a life jacket on. You have to be paying attention, even though you got a lot of your friends on the boat and you're having a good time; you have to be paying attention to where you're going."

Stratford Academy student Chandler Fleming prioritizes awareness while on the lake, especially on Labor Day.

"When we're out on the water, we make sure we have enough life jackets and we have a fire extinguisher," Fleming said. "You always have to be aware of what you're doing, how fast you're going, what direction you're going. It's like driving a car, but there's a lot more factors."

Regarding the boaters in Macon, Fleming mentioned how the community is a significant factor.

"You definitely have to think about the community," Fleming said. "If you have a bad boating community, then you're not going to have a good experience because you're not going to be able to meet new people out on the water."

The Department of Natural Resources says anyone born on or after January 1, 1998, must complete a boat education course to operate any boat or motorized vessel on the water.

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